Destinations

Blue Siberian “Maldives” lake popular with Instagrammers is a chemical waste dump

Instagrammers have been advised to tread carefully when visiting a turquoise Siberian lake dubbed the “Novosibirsk Maldives”.

The lake makes for a great backdrop, but tourists visiting the area have been warned against swimming there; as it turns out, the lake is a highly toxic artificial pond used to dump ash from a nearby coal plant.

Um Oh Ok

“In the last week, our ash dump of the Novosibirsk TEZ-5 has become the star of social networks,” the company said in a statement on Russian network VK.

“But you CANNOT swim in the ash dump. Its water has high alkaline environment. This is due to the fact that calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. Skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction!”

The owners of the Siberian Generating Company have said that although the pond may not be poisonous or radioactive, it is filled with chemicals that can cause allergic skin reactions.

The company said that another danger is getting stuck in the deep mud of the ash dump, which is so thick that getting out “is almost impossible”.

“THEREFORE, WE ASK YOU VERY MUCH THAT IN YOUR QUEST FOR A SELFIE YOU DON’T FALL DOWN INTO THE ASH DUMP! THIS IS THE BIGGEST RISK,” the company wrote.

The types of shots at the pond range from photoshoots and bikini selfies at its banks, to riskier shots of people paddle-boarding and riding inflatables on the toxic water.

The Siberian Generating Company has said that the water owes its unnatural colour to the depth of the ash dump and to calcium salts and oxides of various metals dissolving in the water. The water is also highly alkaline, with a pH of more than eight.

Instagram account @maldives_nsk collects photos from other Instagrammers taken at the pond. Leo Axley, the person who set up the account, told CNN that he just enjoys photography and that the “place is really interesting although you cannot swim there because of the high content of calcium and metal oxides which may cause allergies.”

He also added that he had been to the pond five times and that he planned to return.

“I go there every weekend but I don’t touch the water.”

Featured image: @sup_novosibirsk/Instagram

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